This article is going to completely spoil the ending for The Last Of Us Part 2. If you haven’t finished the game, don’t read on. Instead, go away and finish it, learn about the complex stories and journeys that both Abby and Ellie go through, and then come back to get some more context.
The ending of The Last Of Us Part 2 is one of the best and worst moments in the game. It sees you play as Ellie, sneaking through one of the worst examples of humanity in this post-pandemic world. The Rattlers capture people and force them into hard labour, effectively farming the food that the Rattlers and their friends will consume. People are worked to the bone, and when they die they’re just thrown out like trash. Ellie pushed through, unleashing the slaves who have been bound, and ultimately ends the Rattlers in her quest for locating Abby, who has been captured by them.
When Ellie finally finds Abby, she’s no longer the person that killed Joel. She’s skinny, clearly dehydrated and malnourished, and she doesn’t’ want to fight. Ellie forces the fight, but in the end she lets Abby go because she can’t kill her. They’ve both been through too much, and have come out as different people. Neither of them are the same person that started their respective journeys, which is why the fight is pointless. This makes the game’s ending feel slightly flat, but that’s the point of it.
Neil Druckmann has explained that this is the point of the final fight. Neither character is who they were originally. Players are meant to be rooting for both Abby and Ellie, because they’ve seen them both go through a transformative process that has led to them being what should be better people. They’ve become some of the best examples of humanity in this grim world, though Ellie might be an exception, and they no longer want to kill each other.
I know that this ending grated a lot of fans. Some people wanted Abby to die regardless, but the vision for the game was that Ellie no longer needed that revenge. She’s broken, yes, but that’s because of her trauma, not because she’s still hungry for revenge. I have no idea where The Last Of Us Part 3 could go, but because of this ending, I know that it will go in the right direction for the story.